FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland has sent out six months' worth of food in just eight weeks #NeverMoreNeeded
More than a million meals have been distributed by a charity in just eight weeks.
A Glasgow charity has been continuing to fight hunger during the coronavirus crisis by distributing food to frontline organisations feeding vulnerable people. Since the start of lockdown, FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland has distributed 422 tonnes of food, equivalent to more than one million meal portions.
The service take surplus food from right across the food industry and redistributes it to frontline charities and community groups. The food redistributed includes everything from meat, dairy and fish to vegetables, pasta and tins.
Through a network of charities and community groups, FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland us able to provide food right across the region, from Dumfries and Galloway to Mull. The organisations that receive food from the charity’s South Street depot include children’s breakfast clubs, homeless hostels, mental health organisations and older people’s lunch clubs.
Director of operations, Jim Burns, said “We’re extremely proud to have distributed so much good food to organisations feeding people in need.
“The demand for emergency food has soared during the pandemic and we’re working harder than ever to keep up. We normally distribute 950 tonnes of food in a year, so to distribute nearly half of that in just eight weeks is an extraordinary achievement.
“We’ve seen a record number of charities requesting to join our network since lockdown, with our numbers swelling from 90 to 235 members. From community centres to food banks, we’re providing food to be turned into meals for people who are at the biggest risk of going hungry during the pandemic.
“One million meal portions is an incredible milestone for us, but we won’t stop there. Our team of staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to continue providing food to the hundreds of charities across Glasgow and the west of Scotland supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities during the crisis."
Manager of Heart of Scotstoun community centre, Amanda Quinn, said “We’re delivering hearty homemade meals to 78 households in Glasgow every week, using ingredients we receive from FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland.”
“Many people think it’s only people struggling financially who need support, but, as well as low income households, we’re delivering food to people who need to self-isolate for a range of different reasons, including older people and people with health conditions.
“Our partnership with FareShare Glasgow and the West of Scotland allows Heart of Scotstoun to not only provide homemade meals, but also to place tins and fresh fruit and vegetables into our parcels to help the most vulnerable people in our local area.”
The food is also being distributed to rural areas outwith the city. Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust have been using the food to support communities in need in Dumfries and Galloway.
Project worker Michelle Johnston said: “On average over 200 households are being supported every week across Upper Nithsdale, and we have seen these figures rising week by week. There are many reasons why people have found themselves in need of support: some have been furloughed and now face managing with a sudden decrease in their income; some have been self-isolating; and some have received their letters from the NHS and must now shield for the duration.
“As much as Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust has worked in partnership to stream our service, there have been some challenges. Any issues prior to Covid-19 have only been exacerbated by the crisis: Kirkconnel and Kelloholm are rurally remote areas and sourcing additional packaging, PPE and food items has been difficult, costly and time consuming.
“We have also experienced challenges around people being able to access the food provision that they are entitled to – for example, people who have not received the food parcels they’re entitled to receive as part of the Shielding Programme, which means we often have to pick up last minute referrals of emergency scenarios as people begin to experience food scarcity.
“Funders including the Holywood Trust, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Government have been exceptionally supportive at this time. Ultimately, no amount of money can put a price on the sheer will of people to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. So many folks are mucking in together and doing their best. Some of our fabulous volunteers are our delivery drivers, some are our packers, some are our cooks and bakers, and some are working away behind the scenes to support the ongoing efforts of everybody involved in this mammoth community response.”